The Blank Screen

The Blank Screen

Sometimes the blank screen is what I need. Today is one of those days. The blank screen gives me a place to pour out everything that shouldn’t be said out loud. But if I don’t put those things somewhere, then they start to eat away at me. Like they have been doing for a long time and I just haven’t wanted to admit.

I’m using the blank screen today because my feelings are becoming too much. I don’t even think they’re my feelings, they’re just feelings that will not go away, no matter how hard I try to ignore them.

I feel everything and nothing all at once. I feel anger, unparalleled, unbridled anger. I feel shame about my anger, and then guilt. I feel sadness, ineptitude, regret. Grief and pain and self-loathing. I feel fury towards my inability to achieve things, then I despair at my insulated thinking.

The daily battle I fight with myself, to try and not think this way, to not feel as truly fucking pointless as I do right now, is hard. I am furious at myself for not being strong enough, or confident enough, or competent enough, to just fucking be enough. Not even enough for a job, a role, another person, but enough for myself.

I detest the thought of leaving this mortal coil having not done everything. Irrational and a completely unrealistic expectation, but it grates on my very soul that I will never see, do, or experience all the things this incredible world has to offer.

It haunts me, the idea that my existence is somehow futile, that I will leave this earth having made no purposeful, valuable contribution to it. Then I tell myself that to think like this must be some sort of deep-seated arrogance; to consider myself important enough to do something globally noteworthy is fucking laughable. What delusions of importance, how vain.

And yet, I want to matter. Arrogant or not, I feel sadness at the fact I am now 35 and, like, what am I for? What do I do? What is my purpose? I stand atop a shit-heap of emotional turmoil, attempting to keep smiling at everyone as I sink down into it, like the horse that broke my heart as a child watching The Neverending Story.

The blank screen

Is there something wrong with me? Why do anger, fear and self-loathing follow me around no matter how hard I try to detach from them? Does everyone feel like this?

Comparison is the thief of joy, and yet I compare myself to no one but the near-impossible ideals I set for myself at some point in my formative years. Every day I’ve spent since has been spent tormenting myself with the things I haven’t done, haven’t achieved, cannot do.

I do try to stop and think about the positives, but it’s hard. It’s really hard to view yourself positively in this world as it is, but when you feel this sort of black hole of discontent within yourself, for whatever reason, it’s nigh on impossible.

Am I devoid of positive feelings? Or just a void? Am I one of those godawful toxic people who suck the life out of everyone and everything because they cannot be happy within themselves? Fuck, I hope that’s not the case.

Maybe I don’t just use the blank screen. Maybe I am the blank screen.

It pains me to even commit this to virtual paper, but as I do so I can feel some of the chains around my heart snapping. That sounds dramatic, but living with all these feelings each day gives me that exact sensation. A set of chains, tightening around my heart, clamping it down and stopping it from beating normally.

I want to live my life to a normal beat.

I don’t want to keep fumbling through each day, week, month, dancing sadly to the rhythm of a chained up heartbeat. I want to feel happy again. I can’t remember what happy is like. I miss happy.

I will almost certainly delete this post soon because I never, ever, want my child to read it and think that I was a dreadful person who resented her life all the time. But the human being in me needs to get this out, for the time being. We all have our bad days, and this is one of mine.

The blank screen helps, but it fucking hurts to use it.

5 thoughts on “The Blank Screen”

  1. Hello, Ar.

    I experience the same type of thoughts and feelings almost daily. Many times at 3am when I awake with my heart pounding and feeling nothing but overwhelming existential fear and terror of a totally unfulfilled life.

    I’m 38 years old, I have a few friends who I rarely see, maybe once or twice or year, no children and my last relationship ended almost two years ago. My life consists of going to work, coming home, playing video games, watching youtube or twitch and endlessly thumbing through social media. Rinse and repeat. The most engagement I have with the world is going shopping and interacting with my work colleagues, though even them I hardly see as I’m the only person in my office.

    I’ve suffered with mood / mental disorders since my teens and I’ve spent decades trying to philosophize away all the feelings and subsequent thoughts I have about my existence. This futile idea that my negative feelings can be overcome and removed from me, that I can feel happy all the time. I’ve tried everything from cognitive behavioural therapy to meditation, drugs etc.

    It’s never worked. The more I try to ignore, combat or overcome these feelings the worse they get. Just as the harder I tried to ‘get a life’ attempting to make friends, attend events etc, the more confused, angry and alone I ended up feeling, when such actions didn’t give me the idealised result I wanted.

    I know now there is no magical cure. I will experience these feelings until the end of my life; such as the guilt that I’ll probably never give my parents the experience of having grandchildren, all my wasted opportunities, and the sense that I really should have achieved something more.

    But something recently changed. Where as before all of these things would concern me, they no longer do. Yes, I still have all those feelings, they still hurt, they are still unpleasant, but I realised these feelings are no different to happiness. The only difference was how I behaved towards such feelings. I immerse myself in happiness, I never try and separate myself from it or overcome it. Why would I? It feels great. But, like sadness, it’s a feeling. The idea that it can be removed or overcome is impossible. It’s a part of me, it is me. So if I’m content to be happy, then surely I should be content to be sad?

    So, just as my happiness is a part of me, so is that sadness. I no longer try and separate myself from it or overcome it. It is a part of me and as such I allow myself to feel it. It doesn’t need a resolution, just as my life doesn’t have to have a fundamental check list of everything to be done before I expire.

    Ever since I’ve started allowing myself to feel all the misery and anger and completely be in those moments, I’ve learnt how little I understand my existence, which is the point. It’s not to be understood or controlled and that is where all of my problems have stemmed from. I wanted control over everything I am, to be able to turn off these feelings, to be able to always be happy. The more I tried to feel happy the less happy I became, the more I tried to separate myself from hurt the more it overwhelmed me.

    I no longer try to make myself happy, or try to stop feeling sad. All I do is let myself be in those moments now regardless, and oddly enough, my life is becoming something I no longer dread, even though I doubt that my circumstances will ever change.

    I understand that you didn’t ask for my thoughts, nor can I give a reason why I feel compelled to share this. But perhaps it doesn’t need a reason, maybe things can just be?

    My apologies for rambling, I’m not even sure what I’m trying to say, but regardles, thank you for sharing this.

  2. I feel like this on and off most days, don’t know a specific time it started, just crept up on me, the total lack of confidence and importance, never looked at it like a blank screen, but maybe I should and start filling that blank screen with happy memories, like a kind of unfinished mural, so I can look at it and think I can smile and be happy, I wish you luck filling your blank screen, and you are important, you’re the first person I’ve ever responded too like this, sending strength

  3. I think you’re of a much higher intellect than the general person. I therefore think this means you think and feel everything so very deeply. You’re likely to be suffering low mood, which will allow you to search your mind for reasons in which to validate the way you’re feeling. Please try to find reasons to be grateful, a gratitude list and focus on those things. This will allow you to get off the path in which you keep venturing down in your mind. You’re an amazing creative, you write beautifully and you should focus on the happiness your creativity can bring you and others.

    1. I feel like this on and off most days, don’t know a specific time it started, just crept up on me, the total lack of confidence and importance, never looked at it like a blank screen, but maybe I should and start filling that blank screen with happy memories, like a kind of unfinished mural, so I can look at it and think I can smile and be happy, I wish you luck filling your blank screen, and you are important, you’re the first person I’ve ever responded too like this, sending strength

  4. I’m 54 and I could easily have wrote this very same piece, I’m hoping the therapy I’m now 2 weeks into coupled with the medication I’m now 2 weeks into start showing results before too long, I recognise every word you have written down and wish I had the nerve and the will to do the same, so I thank you for showing me I’m not alone feeling like this because I needed to hear that right now. I’ll get back to acting ‘normal’ now and hope you realise as I have that ur not alone and just knowing that others understand this feeling will hopefully bring some comfort, keep doing wot ur doing, know your worth, and maybe we can all give each other strength and hope to feel better about ourselves, and once again thanks for putting into words x

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